A thoughtful Rex Ryan took the microphone and spoke with Chris Parker of WGR 550's Schopp and The Bulldog on Monday, and talked not only about the Buffalo Bills' season finale against the New York Jets this weekend, but about his disappointing first season as the head coach in Buffalo.
Early in the interview, Parker left Ryan an opening to talk a bit more about Buffalo's fans - particularly those that braved the elements to see a win over Dallas on Sunday - and Ryan took the opportunity to address his team missing the playoffs this year.
"The fans, it's amazing. I've been blown away by them all year. And that's the thing, like, gosh, you know - I feel bad because obviously I came in, and I was talking that I believed that we were going to end the drought," Ryan said. "I thought in my heart of hearts that that's exactly what was going to happen. It obviously didn't work out that way, and it kills me that it didn't. You know, gosh - I want more than anything to do this. But watching our fans? They're unbelievable."
Then, near the conclusion of the interview, Parker solicited Ryan's thoughts on the Bills' ownership and front office power structure. Saying that the Bills have a "good thing going," Ryan again expressed regret at the way the season played out for his team.
"We just didn't produce the wins that I thought we would. The thing that kind of gives this team a black eye, when we're looking at it, is, you know, I let my mouth get ahead of everything," Ryan said. "I think if I would've come in there and just said 'hey, we're going to compete' and do all that stuff, maybe we wouldn't have such a bad feeling about this team. This team doesn't deserve that. This team has fought, and they've played extremely hard. We've had a lot of things happen during this year, where we came up short. There's no question about it. But I think I could have handled it differently."
The Bills are expected to make some significant personnel changes this offseason, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, which is Ryan's bread and butter. We'll see if, once that facelift occurs, Ryan's usual preseason tone changes at all from where it was when the Bills hired him.